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WJA 2021: Lauren C. Collins

As a new attorney, Lauren Collins tried three jury trials in 10 days while at the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office. She was the only misdemeanor attorney who had ever done that. Knowing she has that in her is still a good feeling.

collins-laurenAs a prosecutor interacting with the public, Collins appreciated being a face that looked like so many other people who came there. She is certain this helped her communicate and relate more effectively with her clients.

Following that position, she worked for two law firms. Her legal experience includes complex and toxic tort litigation, as well as defending physicians and medical professionals in medical malpractice actions.

“Most people of color don’t know an attorney personally,” Collins says. “For many people, having a lawyer is unaffordable or unattainable. When they feel like they have nowhere to turn, I like being someone they call on for help. I will take time to answer their questions.”

In 2021, Collins joined the in-house litigation department for The Automobile Club of Missouri, handling litigation regarding insurance claims. She enjoys the different legal issues and questions that come across her desk each week. “One day, I’m dealing with a homeowner’s insurance policy,” she says. “The next day, it’s a third party subpoena from a car accident that happened in Louisiana. Some days, I get into trial mode and go to court to advocate for my client.”

In addition, she serves as chairperson of the Young Lawyers Division of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and as chair of the Young Lawyers Section of The Missouri Bar. She is also proud of her work in diversity and inclusion at the state and local levels.

“During this pandemic, young attorneys especially are struggling with working from home and dealing with child care issues, while still having to meet all their professional requirements,” she says. “I take the time to reach out individually to my executive board. I want to let them know I am here for them and find out how I can help them.”

Collins also teaches cannabis law — in person and wearing a mask — at the Saint Louis University School of Law. Her previous experience in starting a cannabis practice prepared her well for this assignment. “This was a very new area of law at the time we started the practice,” she says. “Medical marijuana had just been legalized. My firm backed me to do that, and I organized a team of lawyers to handle the cases. My cannabis practice was a bright spot in my career.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021